Go Eat Dirt!

We have been having a blast outside, digging, planting, and finding slugs and worms.  When it was raining I wanted to keep the dirt theme going so we grabbed a few treats from the grocery store and made some sweet edible dirt instead. This is an old favorite and there are many different recipes. This is the one I like the best for kids to help make it.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some oreo type cookies, chocolate pudding, gummy worms, chocolate rock candies, a zip lock, toy hammer, bowl , and containers for serving.
  2. Start by putting the cookies in the bag and hammering them to a pulp.
  3. Put the cookies into a bowl and add the pudding.
  4. Mix
  5. Put some of this dirt mix into your serving cup and add some gummy worms.
  6. Add some more dirt mix.
  7. Add the rock candies .
  8. Let chill.
  9. Serve! I have seen it served in toy dump trucks, in flower pots… really your creativity is the limit!

Song

Books

Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole is a garden version of the classic ” The House That Jack Built”. We watch as Jack prepares, plants and cares for a garden. I like the detail that the book goes into from the worms in the soil, to the seedlings, birds, flowers and insects that all work together for a garden to succeed. My son loved that Jack seemed to be a teenager, not sure where he got the idea but teenagers are the height of cool for my 3 year old. I also really appreciated the detailed drawings of things along the edges of each page, from slug eggs, to specific insects and different flowers, they all offered more learning while reading.

Construction Countdown by K.C Olson is a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks and cement mixers among other things to count. Before I even closed the book my son was signing for more. I read it 4 times since getting it out of the library today. A huge hit here!


Zinnia’s Flower Garden This book is really useful not just about teaching about flowers and gardens, but also about patience and the annual cycle of a garden.  Zinnia plants and waits, waters, enjoys her flowers, then they die, she collects the seeds and plans her garden for next year.  I love that the main story is perfect for my almost 3 year old but there is much more for older children with longer attention spans. There is a little journal with notes about what’s happening with her garden, and various facts about plants as well.  Like in so many of her books the author celebrates hard work and her characters take great pride in what they do. A fantastic message for readers, big and little. I also love the mix of illustration and photographs in this book especially, it gives the illustrations depth and a really interesting look.

Find and Count Bug Hunt

find & count bug hunt nature activity

Math and science all together is my kind of activity, but when it’s fun it’s even better. We have all been a little cranky around here and when that happens one of the best ways to shake off the fuss is to go outside! So I made a quick check list and we were off to find creepy crawlers and tally up what we found!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a clip board, a marker and a piece of paper. If you want grab a magnifying glass and a plastic jar if you want to collect what you find.Find and Count Bug Hunt
  2. Make a simple check list with bugs you normally find in your yard. It’s okay if you don’t find some of the things on your list but if you come up completely empty handed that would be a huge bummer. So take their suggestions but fill in some gaps if all they suggest are lions, and tigers and bears! Unless you have those in your yard. Find and Count Bug Hunt
  3. We drew pictures as well as spelled out the words.
  4. Out you go! Start searching!

    Find and Count Bug Hunt

  5. Make little check marks for the bugs/ creatures you find. We took turns. Find and Count Bug Hunt
  6. Here he is counting and yelling out the number of ants he saw and I tallied them. ( which reminds me I need some Dr.Bronner’s to get rid of said ants). Find and Count Bug Hunt
  7. He’s pointing to the  snake we found! Find and Count Bug Hunt 010
  8. Together count up your discoveries. Find and Count Bug Hunt

The best learning for young children are experiences they can do, and if they are resistant to something at the table, get outside ! You will both be happier and the lesson whatever it is will make a much larger impact than anything you had to force or cajole!Find and Count Bug Hunt

Bug Books!

Ant's Day Off

An Ant’s Day Off by Bonny Becker is an interesting tale about an ant who has lived his whole life never seeing the sky , or anything beyond the tunnels he works in until one day he decides to take the day off. The text was a little long for my son who kept flip flopping on my bed, but he didn’t want me to close the book either. The story was solid though, my favorite part was when he tried to return to his tunnel and the guard he expected to give him heck, was supportive and even shared that he too has taken a day off.

The Very Quiet Cricket

The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle is one of my favorites and I am a little shocked this is the first time I have reviewed it here. The story is all about a little cricket who is trying and trying to chirp like the others to talk to all the bugs talking to him but he can’t!  Whenever I read it to children ( and it was a classroom favorite too) I would wiggle my shoulders like I was trying to rub my wings together just like the cricket. Kids latched on to that and I loved seeing them so engaged by the repetitive but never boring book. I thought seeing 12 little 3 year olds wiggling was precious but one little 3 year old is pretty cute doing it too!  Of course there is a “surprise” at the end that toddlers and preschoolers alike will love.

The Gentleman Bug

The Gentleman Bug by Julian Hector is a story about a bug but not just any bug a proper gentleman one who lives in the Garden, the Garden being a bug version of London. One day a lady bug comes to town and he is smitten. He tries to get her attention but falls flat. As it turns out though they do have something in common, a love of books and that brings them together in the end.  I liked the details of this book, the illustrations were wonderful and the map of the garden in the inside cover was awesome but the story fell a little flat.  I am eager to read the author’s other works though because I think there was potential it just wasn’t quite a home run.

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Spaghetti Worm Painting

Worms are fun. We dig for real ones in the backyard, make them for lunch ( pasta ones) and even paint with them ( pasta ones again! ). I love this activity because it’s easy, different and with older children you can challenge them to paint specific shapes, or letters using only the pasta. It can also be used as an example of before and after, talk about the process of cooking and what happens to the pasta when it’s cooked.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some spaghetti, a pot, some paint , a plate and some paper.
  2. Cook your spaghetti. Let cool but don’t wait too long it will get too stiff to paint with.
  3. Add some paint to your plate .
  4. Dip your wiggly worm in
  5. Print onto your paper.
  6. Add more colors if you wish
  7. Let dry.

Song !